Traditional Christmas cookie making has to include ‘sugar cookies’, its right there in the rule book just past the eggnog recipe which we will get to. The Christmas cookie is derived from medieval European Christmas biscuits. The earliest Christmas cookies in America were right here, in what was then, New Amsterdam in the 17th century. The Dutch settlers in our area brought the custom with them. Around the turn of the last century, highly stylized cookie cutters with Christmas scenes were made available to the public. It was at this time that the making of cookies to hang on Christmas trees began.
So, lets make some sugar cookies to leave for Santa.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla, and then mix until they just combined. Mix the flour and baking powder together, and then add this to the mixture slowly. Dough will seem as if doesn’t have enough moisture but continue to mix with mixer until combined. This will come together once the dough is chilled.
Divide the dough into four equal parts, shape into four disks, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, about 1/4 inch thick for crispier cookies and 1/3 inch thick for softer cookies. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets.
If you don’t want to go the cookie cutter route, you could take walnut sized pieces of the dough, roll them into little balls and press then with a glass as we did with the ginger snaps.
Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges just start to turn a golden color. For softer cookies, do not allow the cookies to take on color. Remove from oven, let cool for one minute and then transfer to wire rack. That’s wire rack, not wine rack, and let the cookie sheet cool thoroughly before placing the next batch on it. Decorate cookies with frosting and/or sprinkles.